Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday offered suggestions on how to improve the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying waiting for a vaccine was not enough. The proposals came two days after President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address.
Among others, the Vice President in a Facebook video suggested cleaning data sets to sharpen response. She also called attention to the plight of the thousands who are stranded in Metro Manila, some of whom were packed at a Manila stadium over the weekend.
"Hindi mapipigil ang pandemya kung basta mag-aabang na lang tayo sa bakuna. Kailangan maampat ang pagkalat nito sa lalong madaling panahon (We can't stop the pandemic by just waiting for a vaccine. We need to stop the spread at the soonest possible time)," Robredo said.
"Ito ang broad strokes ng plano. Wala akong duda na mulat ang pamahalaan dito. Pero malaki ang krisis, at maraming dapat gawin, kaya kailangan nating lahat maging mas maliksi sa pagtukoy sa mga puwang, at maging mabilis at malikhain sa pagpuno nito (These are the broad strokes of the plan. I have no doubt that this government is aware. But the crisis is big and much needs to be done. That's why we need to move faster to identify the gaps and address them fast)."
One way to streamline data is to involve the academe in the Department of Health's validation process. Another is to ensure the quick turnover time of tests, she said.
Locally-stranded individuals must be given free swab or RT-PCR tests before traveling, she said. "Hinahanap din ang mas organisadong pagpo-proseso ng mga LSI — at hindi 'yong napipilitan silang matulog sa semento o sa ilalim ng tulay, o nagsisiksikan at nalalagay sa mas matinding peligro ng exposure sa COVID (There should also be a more organized processing of LSIs -- and not allow them to sleep on the pavement or under the bridge, or squeeze themselves into crowds wherein there is a danger of COVID exposure)."
She said there must be a "whole of nation approach" to combat the pandemic, which according to her is more effective than appointing new officials. It's also important that the public and private sectors have a consensus strategy against COVID-19.
Robredo said strengthening hospitals and supporting frontliners are the foundation of a solid healthcare system. "Siguruhin na equitable at sistematiko ang pagbubuhos ng resources sa mga ospital para makasabay sila sa demands ng pandemya (There should be an equitable and systematic allocation of resources to hospitals so that they can meet the demands of the pandemic)."
Watch Robredo's entire address here: